By now everyone has heard about Jeremy Lin. Everyone.
In fact, there's an even-money chance that if you ask your mom who is Derrick Rose, she'll shrug her shoulders. But if you ask her about Lin, the head-turning, "Today" show-starring, former Harvard walk-on, twice-cut NBA journeyman who has become the toast of New York, she'll say, "You mean the Knicks' point guard."
It has reached the level of saturation that all big stories teeter on in today's 24/7 media cycle. It's a great story, but come on. Would it shock you if ESPN gets live shots from Lin's apartment and breaks into "SportsCenter" with (cue the old-school CBS lead-in music) ... "We're going live to New York where Jeremy Lin is making a huge decision: 'Cheerios or Rice Krispies?' Let's go to Bob Ley and 'Outside the Lines' for a special report."
The backlash is coming. It always does. It's like modern media version of Lennie from "Of Mice and Men." We love a new story -- especially an unbelievable underdog story like Lin's -- and we love it so much that we consume it. Then we get tired of it and don't want to hear any more about it.
(It's not unlike a player being underrated. It starts as someone does the dirty work or gets some credit for operating under the radar. Then before you know it, that player is the "most underrated" in the league and everyone embraces that player's grit. Then said player actually starts getting rated properly, but it becomes apparent that there are holes in the underrated player's game. So then people start thinking this player is actually overrated when in truth the player is just being rated. Was that tangent overrated or underrated? Where were we?)
Oh yes, the global marvel that is Jeremy Lin.
All of the cosmic tumblers were in place for the Lin story to become Lin-sanity.
Perfect locale? Check. If you take the exact circumstance of this story and move Jeremy Lin to Charlotte or Portland, you haven't heard of him. It's New York, baby, and that makes it much, Much, MUCH bigger. (And if you think Lin-Sanity has taken hold, think what would have happened if LeBron James had picked the Knicks and turned every game into an event. Sweet Bandwagons of Branding and Marketing, James would have had a chance to be the single biggest star in the history of team sports. Notice we said biggest star, not greatest player, and yes, we're including MJ.)
Perfect timing? Check. February is an awfully slow sports month, so the 24/7 sports cycle needs something to spin around. Welcome to Lin-ville.
Perfect nickname? Lin-sanity is awesome, and it's only the tip of the iceberg. Think back to the Fernando-mania or Tebow-time or even Mark "The Bird" Fidrych -- three of the closest examples of the Lin phenomenon -- and all of them had catchy slogans.
Perfect handling? The kid is super bright and likable and has handled every interview almost letter perfectly.
Roll that together, and boom, cult hero and media frenzy.
And a big part of this is society. What would Fernando-mania have been if we had had Twitter in 1980. How about YouTube during Jordan's heyday?
So it goes, and the media cycle will continue to spin until it doesn't. Think about that.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...